World trade in products totaled 17 trillion 583 billion dollars in 2020, a year-on-year decline of 7.5%, according to data from the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD).
In general, during 2020, companies operated in an extraordinarily complex environment characterized by the Covid-19 pandemic and measures to mitigate its economic impact.
The crisis has been global, severe and abrupt, and has generated enormous uncertainty due to the impossibility of predicting its scope and duration.
Many economies responded with tough policies and remarkable coordination between their fiscal, financial, and monetary counterparts to limit the permanent damage from the lockdown measures.
However, the hopes generated for better treatments, more specific responses to the outbreaks and effective vaccines announced in the last months of the year contained the situation towards the end of 2020 and led to better expectations that were reflected in the financial markets.
Before, also in terms of value, world trade in products rose 10.2% in 2018 and then fell 2.7% in 2019.
After a recovery in international trade in 2017, economic conditions began to deteriorate in the second half of 2018 and further in 2019, due to trade tensions between the United States and China, fears of a disorderly Brexit in Europe and prospects negative of world production.
World trade in products
The slowdown in imports and exports in 2019 was widespread in all geographic regions.
World trade in products showed further declines in that year, while trade in services continued to increase in 2019, albeit at a slower pace.
The steepest drop in world commodity trade occurred in the second quarter of 2020, with a decline of more than 20% relative to the same quarter of 2019.
In particular, the relative recovery in the second half of 2020 was largely driven by China.